TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) A public health advisory has been issued Monday after health officials found toxic algae at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir.
KMVT image of toxic algae bloom found at Salmon Falls Reservoir in July 2018.
The South Central Public Health District and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality released the advisory after testing from July 1 show levels of a cyanotoxin, Microcystin, are now at unhealthy levels because of a recent cyanobacteria harmful algal bloom in the reservoir, according to a news release.
“Children and pets are especially at risk,” said SCPHD Public Health Program Manager Josh Jensen. “These toxins can cause acute health effects in humans such as eye, ear, and skin irritation as well as gastrointestinal distress, and they can severely affect neurological systems.”
People are warned to avoid exposure to water in reservoirs under a HAB health advisory.
Make sure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
Sean Woodhead, the Water Quality Manager at the Department on Enviornmental Quality said the algal bloom has a distinct odor.
"The water will look like pea soup, kind of green, very uninviting," Woodhead said. "There is a distinct odor to it, it's not a pleasant odor."
There is also an APP that people can get to let the department know if they may have seen the algal bloom.
"The Bloom Watch App, in this app, you can download photos and the photos go directly to our state office," Woodhead said. "He can either send someone out from the state office to sample, or he will call the Twin Falls office, and we'll go out to the reservoir."
Do not drink water with a HAB advisory. Boiling and disinfecting do not remove toxins from water.
Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
If fishing in HAB water, remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
Toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues. Wash hands after handling.
SCPHD writes that HABs are not unusual in warm summer months and typically shrink quickly as the water temperature drops in mid to late fall.
SCPHD will issue another press release when DEQ tests show Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir is at safe cyanotoxin levels again.